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Knowledge Transfer and Accomodation Effects in Multinational Corporations: Evidence from European Subsidiaries

Asmussen, C.G., Foss, N.J. and Pedersen, T. (2013). Knowledge Transfer and Accomodation Effects in Multinational Corporations: Evidence from European Subsidiaries. Journal of Management, 39(6), pp. 1397-1429. doi: 10.1177/0149206311424316

Abstract

Foreign subsidiaries in multinational corporations (MNCs) possess knowledge that has different sources (e.g., the firm itself or various sources in the environment). How such sources influence knowledge transfer is not well understood. Drawing on the “accommodation effect” from cognitive psychology, the authors argue that accumulation of externally sourced knowledge in a subsidiary may reduce the value of transferring that subsidiary’s knowledge to other parts of the MNC. The authors develop a parsimonious model of intrafirm knowledge transfer and test its predictions against a unique data set on subsidiary knowledge development that includes the sources of subsidiary knowledge and the extent of knowledge transfer to other MNC units. The authors show that a high level of externally sourced knowledge in a subsidiary is associated with a high level of knowledge transfer from that subsidiary only if a certain tipping point of internally sourced knowledge has been surpassed. This suggests that subsidiary knowledge stocks that are balanced in terms of their origins tend to be more valuable, congruous, and fungible, and therefore more likely to be transferred to other MNC units.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: 1503 Business And Management, 1505 Marketing
Departments: Cass Business School > Management
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/18090
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